Monday, April 9, 2012

Weathering the Storms: Blue Skies from Now On

Sometimes life just comes down on you.  Slams you but good.  Sometimes it comes even harder, just to remind you, who’s in charge.  It’s hard to get out from under all this “life”.   Sometimes. 

Sadly, there seem to be some of us living vast portions of our lives with dark clouds hovering, right to left, back and forth, just above us.  Blocking the sun from shining even dimly on what may appear as meager blessings, the dark clouds, hover.  While others still, seem to beckon the clouds, adding to the hard times, crafting turmoil as they project their own demise and downfall.   Some like to inflict their pain and spread grief believing somehow, they have some great authority over others.  I believe, with the right disposition and the proper attire, we can all weather just about any storm.

Sometimes this life just comes down hard, a torrential downpour of dismay.  It might be helpful to remember to carry your umbrella, or become aware of the slight subtleties of cloud formations and transformations, or the screeching turmoil being hurled your way and quickly take cover.  The clouds will pass, eventually, sooner if so desired.

Life comes and keeps coming whether we are ready or not, willing or willful. I happen to love this life, hard times and all.   All right, I don’t love the hard times but I have certainly gained some big and meaningful insight from some of my hardest times.  I have learned to walk away in spite of waiting out a few stormy skies or years, or decades.  In doing so, my days have become fuller and brighter.  My spirit has grown lighter.  I have discovered that I have this dreadful capacity to talk myself into believing in the most unbelievable and tolerating the most intolerable.  My awareness of this capacity has taught me that honesty must be self-directed even more so than upholding an expectation of those around me.  In being more honest with myself I have been able to break free of a controlling and abusive past and I have been able to live my life more aligned and in keeping with a value system that celebrates life, and compassion and integrity.  I have been able to sift through some dark and seemingly debilitating moments, and I have come out stronger, if not a bit wind swept. 

I know life is going to come down on me at times.  Occasionally, I get knocked down by it, but it keeps coming regardless and I can choose to lie down and let it sweep over me, or I can find my ground and stand up to it.   Of course this isn’t always easy to do and I have had more than a few bruised and battered run-ins with this life.  I was blessed, or cursed with resilience and resolve.  I had for some time allowed the dark and gloomy clouds of others to conceal my blessings, and I have also allowed myself to accept with some sense of resolve that I could endure the gloom. I could not.  And happily, I have resolved that I will not again endure the self-made gloom of another.

I was taught explicitly that life was hard.  I can summon up the pearls of wisdom that became a mantra in my childhood home.  “No one ever said life was fair, Ginger, or easy” was frequently snickered by a mother slammed down with the lives of four wiry kids and just barely enough resources to feed and clothe them, leaving less for replenishment or reflection.  I must have been reporting and reacting to unfairness at regular intervals, the mantra was repeated in kind.  The message was received but I kept it at arms length.  Or so I thought.  Bit by bit, I became convinced that life was hard and I just had to somehow endure the hard times.  I had not only allowed it to move in closer, I embraced it, and then I had worn it like the tattered cloak of a martyr.  Not exactly a passive approach, but my grievances became ineffectual and habitual.  Like cloud cover that intonates a brewing storm but barely produces drizzle, gray and gloomy just the same.   Sometimes like a thunderstorm so sudden and threatening but barely wetting the ground, again not making much impact.

I decided to transform some of my beliefs and thoughts regarding life and it’s weather patterns.  I have learned to dress accordingly for the weather and I have learned when to secure the storm windows and batten down the hatches.   I have always loved thunderstorms and dramatic weather.  I can recall the thrill and excitement of a few passing hurricanes off the coast of Long Island, safe within my parents watch.  I have also learned that loving thunderstorms does not need to be a metaphor for my relationships. I can appreciate a storm from a bright and sunny vantage point.  This is the only way to see the rainbows and sunbeams that shine upon my blessings. 

I have also learned a little more about cloud formations and there may be a metaphor that applies after all.  Clouds change.  Often.  They are transformative.  Such as life, a cloud can undergo complete internal transformations, changing from one genus into another.   When this occurs, it’s name changes to the name of the appropriate genus followed by the name of the mother-cloud genus and the addition of mutatus. Allow me to attempt to describe my transforming disposition, metaphorically speaking:

I think I had allowed myself to become a Nimbostratus NimboStratoCongestusmutatus a dark cloud, drizzling with a pile up of dread, more or less low to the ground.  I then moved into Cirrus CirroFractusmutatus.  Detached, fractured, moving toward white and fibrous with a silky sheen and killer smile.  I am currently experiencing AltoVertebratusRadiatusPerlucidusgenitus.  I have stopped the internal transformation and am staking my claim on the high road, above it all, with a backbone, rays of light and hope, and a protective covering that allows the sun and the moon and blue skies to be seen.   From here on out?  Blue skies, nothing but blues skies from now on……

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